Green fingernails and evenings well spent

My neighbour, H, is making me a shelf. It started as an offer to put my coat hooks up. I told him the rack he was holding wasn’t for coats and we came to a strange sort of compromise where he agreed to build me a shelf which I could hang coats on.

Over the weekend he glued and sawed and sanded and planed and did whatever carpenters do when making shelves.

Yesterday he brought me the raw wooden shelf (it’s beautiful) and a box of different wood dyes which he proceeded to spread on a couple of cut off edge pieces so I could choose one. I didn’t think any fitted quite right. I wanted green. Apparently green isn’t a colour he uses all that often..

Tonight, after work, I stopped to buy fishfood and green wood dye powder. And turkey for a thank-you curry.

I was still frying onions and chopping peppers when H arrived. He stood and watched for a minute or so before pulling out his penknife and adjusting the doors on the kitchen cabinets. It seems carpenters are incapable of ignoring badly hung doors. Never one to stop other people working, I found him a decent screwdriver or two and pointed him in the direction of the sitting room and all my other cupboards. My floorboards are anything but level, and I don’t think any of the cupboard doors hung straight. I also had a cupboard where the door opened the wrong way. No longer ๐Ÿ™‚

The cupboards and the curry were both finished/ready around the same time.

At the first lull in the after dinner conversation, H leapt up, announced his intention of clearing up, and started running hot water into the sink, ready to wash up. At this rate I’m going to be cooking thank-you dinners for a while… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I certainly stand no chance of drying faster than he washes.

The wood dye is astonishingly easy to mix and keeps for 6 months or so in a jar. I bought 2 packets, a light and a dark green, just in case the labels were misleading. The first trial pieces were painted in a matter of minutes, leaving us time to talk about different sorts of sealing coats, wax or varnish, matt or shiny, and the best kinds of joints to stop the wood twisting out of shape.

Tomorrow I can paint/dye the shelf.

By the end of the week it should be up on the wall – can’t wait to see it finished ๐Ÿ™‚

On holes

There’s a hole in my Alfa, dear Liza, a hole.

Two holes if you want to be more accurate.

A black one if you want to be facetious.

***

There’s a hole in my bathroom, dear Liza, a hole.

There is now anyway. Luckily.

Until this evening it was so blocked up that there wasn’t much hole left at all.

It was quite gross and horrendously smelly.

I cleaned and unblocked it though, so it’s all good, and the vinegar worked its magic on the smell. I can hopefully bath in peace now, without flooding the whole room.

***

There are holes in my walls, dear Liza, there’s holes.

I finally borrowed a hammer and started putting pictures up today. It’s amazing how much more lived in a place looks when there are pictures.

***

Today was a strange day.

On making ones bed (but not lying on it)

I’ve mostly slept on an airbed since moving into my flat. The first one died, despite the stars, and I replaced it with a second of the same sort. I love airbeds, especially the deep ones, but since winter arrived it’d started to get damp underneath and I really really don’t want the floor to go mouldy. Time for a proper bed.

***

Before Christmas I saw a nearly new mattress advertised in the small ads by someone who was planning on moving soon. My car went on strike on the day I wanted to pick it up but the seller said he’d keep it for me.

I also saw a bed for sale (different seller) and asked if I could collect it after Christmas. The lady said she wouldn’t reserve it for me but she’d let me know if it was still there in the new year.

It turns out that the bed was still available when I got back from England and now it’s mine!

***

I’m still car-less, so yesterday I walked the mile or so each way to the bed-lady and back multiple times, carrying pieces of bed.

The slats were awkward but not excessively heavy.

The sides and middle bar were by contrast enough to make me stop every few minutes to get my breath back. Luckily they were all taped together. Even more luckily, I didn’t knock anyone out with it on the way home, though I did come quite close a couple of times when I turned round…

One of my new neighbours (lives in the same house, don’t really know him all that well though) came home as I’d manouvered the beast up the stairs to my landing. I leant against the door holding the beast upright and trying to catch my breath and gather enough energy to find my key and open the door without knocking it over.

He laughed, “how come you sound so close to death, just from a couple of flights of stairs?” I nodded at the metal bundle, “The stairs would’ve probably been ok if I hadn’t carried it a mile first…” He picked it up and put it down again pretty quickly.. “must be close to 30kg!” he said. I nodded. “Yeah, could be. Certainly unwieldy”.

We talked for a while about cars and furniture and the state of his work project, (but not about cabbages or kings) and when the landing light starting getting annoying (it turns itself off after a minute or two) I opened my front door, took the beast into the sitting room, and came back out to the landing, leaving my hall light on. We chatted for another couple of minutes before he headed upstairs and I closed and started re-locking my door.

He stopped on the stairs and turned round, “Going back out again?!”

“Na klar, got to get the next bits of the bed”

“Bits? As in more than one? How many are there?”

“Two. The bedsteads”

“Wait a minute, you can’t carry them both at once and it’s already dark. I’ll come with you, it can be my good deed for the day”.

So that saved me a trip.

“If you need anything else carrying, let me know..” *

“Rolled up mattress? Tomorrow evening? By car?”

“Yup – can do”

“Brilliant. Until tomorrow then”

“Until tomorrow.”

No one should say things as open-ended as this to me without really meaning it. I am liable to take the 63359 inches they weren’t offering as well as the one they were.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

***

Today (an extra day off work – whee!!) I packed up the air bed and assembled my new bed, washing all the pieces as I went.

It is a lot bigger than it looked in the pictures, much taller than my windowsill, and it took me a while to figure out where to put it so that it didn’t waste too much space or look too much like a cage. It meant rearranging almost all the other furniture in the room, but I think it’s the best place for it, even if I’m not happy with the placement of the cupboards yet.

Now all I need is the mattress!

***

Later:

The neighbour who promised to pick up the mattress with me didn’t. He wasn’t at home when I knocked and I don’t have his number. I will try asking again tomorrow, otherwise I will have to find another willing victim.

Argh.

Looks like I won’t be sleeping in my new bed tonight after all.

On reaching for the ordinary and finding nothing but stars ?

I have an airbed. It’s huge, and it leaks. Just a bit, but so that there is a considerable dent when I wake up. I pump it up before I go to bed in the evening and all is good.

This morning I decided to stay in bed after I woke up. I am a lady of leisure after all [..the exams]. I got up, turned the pump on, then off and heard an ominous hissing. I thought the plug wasn’t in properly, but there was no problem there. Then I noticed the hole.

It wasn’t a very big hole, but it was a noisy hole, and it was having a big impact. When I covered it with my finger the hissing stopped. When I took my finger away, I could watch my bedclothes sinking towards the floor.

I went on a hunt for sellotape.

What I found was a page of sticky stars.

Now I can lie in bed, knowing I’m protected by the stars ๐Ÿ™‚

On bookshelves

I moved to Berlin in January.
Most of my things moved in after me.
Most of them still live in the boxes we moved them in.

For the last few months my bookcase looked like this:
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No[t much] longer!

First, the DB chose a good space for a bookcase.

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Then we measured it.

Then I used Draftsight to make a plan of the space and of the way I wanted it to look and a separate plan of how to get all the lengths into the fewest number of planks (with the least waste).

Then we (the DB, his Dad and I) went wood shopping. We got the people in the wood shop to cut the planks for us, because we spontaneously decided to buy oak instead of pine* and would’ve burnt our way through it instead of cutting it.

After all that, we spent the weekend sawing, glueing, drilling and screwing. DB’s mum spent her weekend cooking for us and making sure we remembered to eat.

I would love to say I had to tragoon them all into it, purely for the sake of the word, but they were willing victims. I think wanting their respective houses and cellars back helped.

First we built this:

image

Then we built this:

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And then it was finished. ๐Ÿ™‚

image

And that was the end of another good weekend.

Now all I have to do is oil it, sand it, oil it again and wait for it to dry (or soak in or whatever oil does) and empty my books into it.

No rest for the wicked, huh?

Still. My mother says only boring people get bored…..

* it was half price ๐Ÿ™‚